Goals on whiteboard

Understanding Akrasia to Set Better Business Goals

Leo Manzione

We’ve all said it…

I want more business.

I want to grow my operations.

…but when the  opportunity presents itself…we falter.

Why? Simply put: sometimes the goals we have threaten us with consequences that cause us to “throw the baby out with the bathwater” and slow our momentum.

This phenomenon is known as akrasia and it’s, without a doubt, one of the most important topics I cover with my clients. In today’s post, I’ll not only go into more depth with some examples but I’ll give you some strategies you can put in place right away.

According to the 
Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, “The Greek word ‘akrasia’ is usually said to translate literally as ‘lack of self-control’, but it has come to be used as a general term for the phenomenon known as weakness of will, or incontinence, the disposition to act contrary to one’s own considered judgment about what it is best to do.” What an unflattering definition! Akrasia tells us “that people often do act in ways which they believe to be contrary to their own best interests, moral principles or long-term goals.

Akrasia kicks in when we have a goal or a desire for our business, but there’s a part of us that is actually worried about achieving that goal.
Getting more business, for example, could mean we get less time with loved ones or a drop in quality if our systems can’t handle the new influx. If we let fears like these get in the way, we’ll never reach those goals.

Check out the video below for more on akrasia and what we can do to overcome it:

Don’t let yourself spin out of control and effectively worry yourself away from your goals.

The first step to overcoming akrasia is to recognize when it’s happening. Do you have big goals that you never seem to reach? Could part of the reason why be that you’re afraid to reach them?

If you do notice yourself guilty of akrasia, take a moment and STOP. Don’t let yourself spin out of control and effectively worry yourself away from your goals. Stop the cycle now.

Focus on the next few steps

My advice for stopping the downward spiral is to focus on the next few steps rather than the point 10 steps from now. Keep your focus shorter and allow yourself to make adjustments as you progress. If you take a goal step-by-step, you’ll be able to adjust it according to what’s important to you at that time. For example, you may have a 20 year plan for your business, but are you even sure what’s going to matter to you as a business owner in 20 years? I’d be impressed (and a bit doubtful) if you think you can answer that with certainty.

So there you have it: take that complex goal, break it down into manageable pieces, and reap the rewards. Implement this technique and you’ll notice yourself making the progress you’ve been missing.

Want help setting or reaching a goal? Feel free to apply for one of my complimentary diagnostic sessions and we can review this concept and uncover anything else that might be holding your business back.


Talk soon,

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